Note to readers: We just officially launched Randall Craig's new book, "Personal Balance Sheet, a Practical Career Planning Guide". It is available at Amazon, Chapters/Indigo stores, Books for Business, and also at www.PersonalBalanceSheet.com/store.
Even though you may be on stage when you are making a presentation, it is your audience that deserves the focus. They don't care about you - at best they only care about how you can "solve their problem" - at worst, they want to be entertained. Changing focus to the audience doesn't happen by accident - it requires preparation, both before and after the presentation itself:
Before the presentation. Ensure that you really understand the audience and their objectives. Answering a few simple questions can make a huge difference: Why are they there? Do they have to be? What are they hoping to learn or accomplish, as a result of listening to you? Of course, if your presentation is worth giving, it is worth rehearsing: your style and fluency should help deliver your message, not hinder it.
At the end of the presentation. The purpose of your audience is not to be a "receptacle" for your ideas, nor are they there to feed your ego. The mark of a successful presentation is one that causes something to happen: mindsets are changed, action is created, or decisions are made. So why not end the meeting with a focus on action? Here are a few ideas:
- Challenge each attendee to commit to doing one thing based on what they each learned.
- Ask each pair of people to share with eachother their most important take-away from the presentation.
- Ask each person to write down an idea that you will compile and circulate.
- Gain agreement, as a group, as to the next steps and responsibilities.
While all of these ideas apply to group presentations, they are equally applicable in small group meetings, networking meetings, and even one-on-one meetings with your manager or staff.
This week's action item: Run through these ideas prior to your next group meeting or presentation. It's all about your audience: what you do before and after can change a good presentation into an impactful one.
Randall Craig is an expert on Career Development, Work-Life Balance, and Networking. For more information about how Randall can help you or your organization, go to www.PersonalBalanceSheet.com, or contact Randall by email through email@example.com.
Make It Happen Tipsheet
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Copyright © 2008 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved.
Publication Date: March 4, 2008
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